There has been pea soup fog the last several mornings when I’ve gone out to do barn chores. This is fog that literally drips from the trees and soaks like rain, swallowing up all visible landscape, hushing bird song, erasing all color, homogenizing everything.
It also sucks up my horses as I send them out to the field from the barn. They lead slowly out to the gate, sniffing the wet air, hesitant to be turned out into the grey sea surrounding them. What is there to eat out here in this murk? Each one, when turned loose, wanders into the soup, disappearing, as if never to be seen again. One by one they move boldly forward to look for their buddies, although seeing nothing, hearing nothing, smelling nothing–lost and alone and bewildered until somehow they meet up in the mist.
I muse at their initial confusion and then their utter conviction there must be “something out there” worth finding. They are dependent on all the usual cues–visual, auditory, olfactory–all useless in the fog. Instead they rely on some inner sonar to find each other and bunch together in a protective knot, drops of fog dew clinging to their manes, their eyelashes and their muzzle whiskers. As day wears on, the fog dissipates, their coats dry under the warming sun, and the colors of the fields and trees and palomino horses emerge from the cocoon of haze.
Sometimes I feel lost in fog too–disconnected, afloat and circling aimlessly, searching for a touch point of purpose and direction and anything that is not smothering and gray. Perhaps I’ll bump into a fellow fog wanderer and we’ll stay knotted together, relieved in the connection to something solid and familiar. The isolation I sometimes feel may simply be a self-absorbed state of mind, sucking me in deep, separating me from others, distancing me from joy. I’m soaked, dripping and shivering.
If I only had the faith of my horses in the mist, I’d charge into the fog fearlessly, knowing there are others out there ready to band together for company, comfort and support, to await the sun. When warm rejuvenation does come, though not always as quickly as I would wish for, it will be enough to dry my whiskers, put color back in my cheeks and refresh my hopes and dreams.
The fog is never forever.